Photo: James Bombales

The end of 2017 was marked by a jump in both home sales and prices across Canada.

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales spiked 4.5 per cent month-over-month and 4.1 per cent year-over-year in December. It’s the fifth consecutive monthly national increase, ending the year on a high note.

Activity was up in almost 60 per cent of local markets, with the GTA, Edmonton, Calgary and Hamilton leading the charge.

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“Monthly momentum for national home sales activity gained strength late last year,” writes CREA president Andrew Peck, in a statement. “Further expected economic and job growth will buoy sales activity [in 2018] despite slightly higher expected interest rates.”

The pick up in sales could also be due to anxiety over mortgage rules that came into effect on January 1.
“National home sales in December were likely boosted by seasonal adjustment factors and a potential pull-forward of demand before new mortgage regulations came into effect this year,” writes CREA chief economist Gregory Klump, in a statement.

Here are 7 stats that paint a fuller picture of December’s sale surge:

1. National home sales rose 4.5 per cent from November to December, while actual sales activity was up 4.1 per cent year-over-year. Meanwhile, the number of newly listed homes jumped 3.3 per cent month-over-month.

2. Prices were also up — the MLS Home Price Index rose 9.1 per cent year-over-year, while the national average sale price increase 5.8 per cent year-over-year.

3. Apartment units had the largest year-over-year price gains with a whopping 20.5 per cent increase, followed by townhouse units at 13 per cent. Single family homes rose 5.5 per cent.

4. The national average price for a home in December was $496,500, up 5.7 per cent year-over-year. The average is heavily skewed by the Greater Vancouver and Toronto Areas. Without them, the national average would be just $381,000.

5. Two-thirds of all local markets were in balanced market territory in December. A ratio of between 40 and 60 per cent is considered balanced, with ratios above and below reflecting sellers and buyers markets, respectively.

6. There were 4.5 months of inventory nationwide last month — the number of months of inventory represents how long it would take to liquidate the current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

7. The GTA had 2.1 months of inventory in December, which was up from its all-time low of 0.9 in March, but still below its long-term average of 3.1 months.

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